PHILADELPHIA, May 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- With their hearts filled with patriotic pride, the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale will take the stage of the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall on Sunday, June 11 at 4pm to celebrate and honor American freedom for this year's annual concert.
From a traditional Shaker song to a 20th century classic work, from honoring the Suffragist movement to a world premiere reflecting the Native American spirit by composer Robert Cohen (who wrote last year's world premiere Genesis), this year's program is varied in its showcase of American freedoms, with its central highlight a new piece put together by author James McBride, entitled "The William Still Guestbook". McBride has woven together several familiar spirituals (many of which were arranged by the late Moses Hogan) with a script featuring the Underground Railroad conductor, William Still (played by local actor Damien J. Wallace).
In explaining his chosen theme and vision for the concert, PBCC Artistic Director Jeff Smith said, "Our concert explores the meaning of freedom and how important it is to remember the beliefs that we have in common: the principles upon which our country was founded, the cost of freedom, the history of our freedom struggles and the sacrifices those who came before us made so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have. Hopefully, by reminding ourselves of these commonalities, we – as parents, children, families and Americans -- can have more respect for each other, listen to each other and find ways towards common goals."
That exploration resulted in the first-time collaboration with author, musician and screenwriter, McBride, whose landmark memoir, "The Color of Water" is considered an American classic and read in schools and universities across the United States.
"I'm delighted to introduce the great Pennsylvanians William Still and Crystal Eastman to American audiences," stated McBride. "And I'm even more delighted that the soaring eloquence of the Philadelphia Boys Choir will do it. These great American heroes and this great American choir have a lot in common. They represent us, the best of us, and the common ground and history upon which we all stand."
In addition, composer Robert Cohen pays tribute to our Native American heritage with the world premiere of "Spirit of the Winding Water". An anthem celebrating Native Americans, it is included in the Ohio ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) choral reading book this month at the regional music conference as a recognition of Native Americans. Drawing from images based on cultural thought, Cohen describes it as, "The philosophy of our country's indigenous people paying tribute to the Spirit of the American Indian on the vast landscapes of our cultural heritage."
About James McBride
McBride's debut novel, "Miracle at St. Anna" was translated into a major motion picture directed by American film icon Spike Lee and released by Disney/Touchstone in September 2008. James wrote the script for "Miracle at St. Anna" and co-wrote Spike Lee's 2012 "Red Hook Summer." His novel, "Song Yet Sung," was released in paperback in January 2009 and his latest novel "The Good Lord Bird," about American revolutionary John Brown, is the winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction.
A former staff writer for The Boston Globe, People Magazine and The Washington Post, McBride's work has also appeared in Essence, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times. His April, 2007 National Geographic story "Hip Hop Planet" is considered a respected treatise on African American music and culture. Musically, McBride toured as a saxophonist sideman with jazz legend Jimmy Scott and has written songs (music and lyrics) for Anita Baker, Grover Washington Jr., Purafe and even for the PBS television character "Barney." He received the Stephen Sondheim Award and the Richard Rodgers Foundation Horizon Award for his musical "Bo-Bos" co-written with playwright Ed Shockley. His 2003 "Riffin' and Pontificatin' " Musical Tour was captured in a nationally-televised Comcast documentary.
About The Philadelphia Boys Choir
Established in 1968, the PBCC's achievements include world tours, recordings with internationally renowned orchestras and soloists such as Luciano Pavarotti, national and international television appearances (including Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live), and praise from critics and audiences across the globe. Recent and upcoming engagements include Carnegie Hall, Notre-Dame in Paris, King's College Chapel in Cambridge, and locally the Kimmel Center, the Mann Center for Performing Arts and the Academy of Music.
The Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale's annual spring concert will be held Sunday, June 11 at 4pm, in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia. Tickets range from $25 – $50 and are available for purchase at www.kimmelcenter.org. For groups of 15 or more, tickets are offered at 20% discount. For more information and to purchase tickets, call: 215-893-1999 or 215-875-7633.
For more information about the Philadelphia Boys Choir please visit www.phillyboyschoir.org or call 215.222.3500.
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SOURCE Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale